20 Jan 2011

OFMdFM commissioned report says Children's Commissioner should stay

THE second review into the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People says the office should stay in existence in its current form.

The independent report was tabled before the Committee for the Office of First Minister and deputy First Minister yesterday.

Commissioner, Patricia Lewsley, said she welcomed the fact that for the second time a review of NICCY said the office should be retained.

"I'd like to pay tribute to all past and present staff of NICCY who have worked tirelessly for the rights and best interests of children and young people," she said.

"The Assembly vote to create a Children's Commissioner in 2003 has now been recognised by two independent reports as the right decision.

"The review also rejected any merger of the commissioner's office with other organisations. However, we continue to share services with other bodies and I hope this report will help inform the work of the Northern Ireland Executive's Review of Arm's Length Bodies.

"And on that basis I will continue my work to monitor Government to make sure that they are delivering for each and every child in Northern Ireland, especially those marginalised young people."

The commissioner said that she was also acutely aware of financial pressures facing everyone in the public sector.

"Everyone here in NICCY is continuing to work hard to deliver for children and young people despite the squeeze on budgets and the recruitment freeze."

Ms Lewsley said that she and her staff would now take time to absorb the other findings of the report.

"The report authors have indicated areas where we can improve the work we do for children and young people.

"I am glad to say that I have already made many of the changes indicated, and will continue to address any outstanding issues."

ENDS

Notes to Editors

  • Every three years an independent review of the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young people is carried out, in line with the establishing legislation of NICCY
  • This is the second independent review of the Northern Ireland Commissioner and Young People to recommend that the office is retained in its current form.
  • The review is an Office of First Minister and deputy First Minster review: please contact the OFMdFM for further information.
  • It follows reviews of the Scottish Commissioner for Children and Young People, and the English Children's Commissioner's office, which both backed the need for independent Children's Commissioner